April 02, 2004

Student is SIUC's first-ever Goldwater Scholar

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Teresa J. Gisburne, a junior majoring in zoology, is Southern Illinois University Carbondale's first-ever Goldwater Scholar.

Gisburne, from Elmhurst, learned this week that she is one of 310 winners nationwide of the prestigious scholarship. She can use the $7,500 award for tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

"I thought it would be good experience to go through the process, because next year I'll be applying for grants and fellowships for graduate school," said Gisburne, who plans to specialize in mammology. Her long-range goal is to obtain her doctorate and conduct research.She said she was "surprised" to learn of the award.

She is the daughter of John and Mary Ann Gisburne.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation is a federally funded agency created in 1986. The program, honoring Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, encourages outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

"The Goldwater is among the most renowned and significant undergraduate awards," said Laurie Bell, assistant director of SIUC's University Honors Program. "It is the crown jewel of mathematics, science and engineering."

Faculties of colleges and universities nationwide submit nominees for the awards, and winners are chosen on the basis of academic merit.

"These students have to have excellent grade-point averages," Bell said. "The average for the winners is 3.95 (on a 4.0) scale, and Teresa's is 4.0. She competed against the best and brightest from across the nation, including the Harvard students and the Yale students."

Goldwater Scholars have an impressive track record of capturing the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Six of 32 Rhodes Scholarships awarded in the United States in 2004 are Goldwater Scholarship winners, and six of 40 Marshall Award winners in 2004 were Goldwater Scholars as well.

"Teresa is very bright and we are very, very proud to have her as our first Goldwater Scholar,'' Bell said. "This bodes well for the College of Science, for our scholarship program and for the University as a whole. In terms of Southern@150, this fits right into the context of what we're trying to accomplish with regard to academics."

Promoting excellence in undergraduate excellence is among the goals of Southern@150, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.